Tuesday, April 28, 2009

RED Campaign Debate on Easterly's Blog

Here's the initial post by Easterly:

Can Starbucks Buy a “Saving Africa” Image for a Nickel?


And here's the response from Starbucks that he posted:

Response to "Can Starbucks Buy A 'Saving Africa' Image for a Nickel?"

7 comments:

phillip said...

the problem, clearly, is in the name. "the global fund" just sounds a little bit too much like something from seinfeld.

phillip said...

i wonder, when she says:

"but this particular blog is a miss."

... if she's referring to that particular post, or the blog in general. if the latter, than seems like she might be indicative of the larger problems (aid laziness, western arrogance, colonialism, feel goodiness, red-washing, etc.) that easterly is trying to address.

arbuckle said...

Agreed.

I definitely hope that it is the former, but she did not do herself a favor by being unclear.

In theory, I'm all about doing business more ethically and using profitable companies to bring connection points between the wealthy and the poor. To me, that is the start of a more sustainable process than simply organizing fundraisers for certain causes where the hat is passed around.

But, at the same time, 'red-washing' and simply buying (especially cheaply) a reputation as an ethical company is a definite contradiction in terms.

The question raised for me, that is of interest, is what place is there, if any, for companies such as Starbucks to be involved?

phillip said...

i agree. creative capitalism seems like it has real potential—especially as charity donations fall in the current economy. and if it's used well (the issue, regardless of the fundraising campaign on the other side), starbucks is still raising at least some money for good causes.

and.. similar to greenwashing.. im not sure "red-washing" is a terrible thing. inefficient and morally questionable, yes. but also draws real awareness to issues and gets people who might never otherwise in the habit of contributing.

arbuckle said...

Yeah, I guess it is just a difficult line to walk--how high do we really want that standard to be? How pragmatic/idealistic should we be?

Personally, I switched to a RED card earlier this year when they first came out, but don't want that to be my (or anyone else's) excuse to not be any more knowledgeable or involved than that.

phillip said...

i buy coffee directly from poor burmese hilltribe farmers as part of a sustainable heroin eradication program.

booyah!

(i kid.. i only do it cause it's cheap).

arbuckle said...

Ha. I yield to the greater altruism.

Sounds like a great program--I had actually hoped to do something similar when I was in college working to plant almond trees in East Asia. Instead, I got married that summer . . .